Me Before Them

Hey Kids,

President Trump signed a bill today, adding manned trips to Mars to the official mission for NASA. In a time when budget hacking are the name of the game, it’s encouraging that space exploration is not dropped to the cutting room floor.

Surrounded by astronauts and law makers at the bill signing, it was suggested that maybe congress could be sent into space. They all laughed and it’s not a thought not too far off from the people’s heart. But why do they get all the fun?

I’d be willing to go to space.Space travel image

I would love to see the blue sky turn black, see the world shrink into a globe, and experience zero gravity. Especially zero gravity. As I mentioned before in a previous post, I create quite the gravitational field and to be free of that would be a godsend to my joints and bones.

And the stars. To see the stars without the haze of the atmosphere and light pollution would be a site I would never forget.

I’m not sure how long it takes for comments such as “shields up” or “engage”, or calling everyone “Number 1” would get old, but I would know by the time I got back.

So if we’re sending anyone to space, sign me up. I can suggest another place for Congress to go.


Post 3-081

Cooler Runnings

Hey Kids,

May is coming quick; before we know it, it’ll be here. We received our key to the houseboat and although I think we need to make another trip down to inspect the interior of the boat for sleeping arrangements and such, I’m not sure if we’re going to make it before our May trip.

It’s been suggested from the responsible side of our marital partnership that instead we should start to work on getting ready to go now and not the week before we leave. I reluctantly agreed that maybe we should. And one of the things we decided that we needed was another cooler.

On a Saturday afternoon lark, we cruised through a thrift store. Left stranded on one of the shelves in the back a cooler waited to be found. It was one of the good ones. No not a yeti, but a Coleman Extreme 5-day cooler, 50 quart, rollaway type. It looked great but we noticed one of the wheels was fatally broken.

I had seen this type of situation before. Two years ago. We had found another Extreme cooler. Typical arrangement, 52 quart; however, the plastic hinges broken leaving the lid free to be removed. A quick web visit to EBay and for $5, I had new ones on the way. Combined with the sticker price of $10, we had realized a savings of about $45.

I whipped out my phone and immediately started hunting for a replacement wheel. I couldn’t find it. I saw others eyeing our find and we had to make a quick decision. The tag also said $10. Would it be worth it if I couldn’t find a wheel? How much would a wheel be if I did find one?

The other bargain hunters could smell the blood of a good deal in the water. They circled. We protected our prey within our cart. I frantically thumbed through more web pages of DIY repairs but could not find the part listed. We ran for the cash register anyway.

“$10 seems a little high for a broken-wheeled cooler,” my wife said to the manager.

“How about $3?”IMG_20170312_215458905


The kill was ours. $3 for a $50-60 cooler, but missing one wheel. We took it home for the night.

I spent the better part of this morning searching online and kept striking out. And then it struck me, the wheel doesn’t have to know for what it was made. Maybe one for a grill would work. To Home Depot we flew.

For $8, a lawnmower wheel would fit. I had to spend an additional 31¢ on a bushing to match the bore size to the axle, but it worked. My wife laughed as I carved figure eights in the parking lot with the cooler in tow. I had to assure it would roll without a limp. It did.

Success. Savings: $48! Mark additional cooler off of the list.

I’m feeling quite proud of myself tonight.


Post 3-072

We’re Back

Hey Kids,

Have you ever watched the sky to see the International Space Station fly by? It’s nothing but a bright moving star that seems to wobble its way from one corner of the sky to the other. A long sighting lasts only a few minutes.

Still, I find it exciting to see. I actually get geeky about it. Pointing at the sky like a kid spotting an oncoming ice cream truck, I make sure everyone sees it too.

One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13. I read the book too; Lost Moon was the original title. Outside of the incredible story of the successful failure, it was the short narrative at the end of the film. Tom Hanks speaking as Jim Lovell resonated with me and I share his question. He says that in the years following his return he watched other men walk on the moon and after the program ended wondered when would we go back?space-x

So you can imagine my thoughts when I read today that Space X is planning to start doing fly-bys of the moon. The company that has been testing and proving the reality and success of a privately funded space program, is taking the next step; as early as next year!

Nearly 40 years later, we’re going back. Maybe not to walk on the moon, but certainly to usher the dawn of new space exploration. I couldn’t be more excited.


Post 3-060

Molehill vs. Mountain

Hey Kids,

I like to think I’m adventurous.

In the hospital next to where I work, there are actual escalators descending down to the cafeteria level. Sometimes, I use the stairs to go down. Other times I’ll use them to walk up. I’m pretty proud of myself.

And then I learn what others have done.

There is a proposal to establish a state park in a place called the Hole in the Rock. It’s where a group of Mormon settlers took a short cut and ended up descending down a 2000 foot crack in the canyon rim with grades from 25 to 45 degrees. In wagons. 83 of them. And 1000 head of livestock.


Hole in the Rock, Utah

Well, sometimes I take the stairs down AND back up on the same visit.


Post 3-050

Kind Words

Hey Kids,

Today is a day to celebrate.

Not just because we were accepted into an ownership of a houseboat.

Not just because said houseboat is located on Lake Powell.boatonpowell

Not just because we will be on that houseboat on Lake Powell for hopefully years to come.

But because we have enough friends who are willing to say good things on our behalf to help us get it.

Now to learn how to pilot a houseboat.


Post 3-023

May the Force be With the New One

Hey Kids,

Remember, if you can, when the original Star Wars released. You know the movie, Star Wars. The one we all wondered why it said Episode IV.522679OriginalStarWarsposter (1)

First, I don’t remember it releasing. I remember talk of the movie, and then it was open, and then everyone had to go see it, and then they kept going. And going. And going. My family was poor and I still saw ghe movie three times in the theatre. And once at the drive-in when they re-released it a few years after. I heard of people who watched the movie at the theatre over a hundred times.

I knew jack squat about the movie before I went. No synopsis to read, or leaked stories. Except for Harrison Ford (who we knew as that guy from American Graffiti) and a couple of English dudes that my parents knew, they were nobody actors. We only knew them as Luke and Leah.

Sure merchandising came along, but not months or years ahead. After we all learned we liked the movie, then we went out and bought the crap.

Empty Christmas wrapping tubes made great Light Sabers and we all beat the crap out of each other. Cheaters used Hot Wheel tracks.

I’m not poo-pooing the new Star Wars movie, but I know it will never capture the imagination like the original did. That movie wasn’t a just a movie. It was a social shift, we grew up, we imagined again, and we had hope in our own world again. Look up the goings-on in 1977, there were some sad people and things then.

Funny thing, the episode was actually named A New Hope. Of course, this made no sense to anyone. It was Star Wars. I don’t recall ever thinking about a sequel until there was one.

I hope this new movie is good.

No, I’m hoping for great.


Day 290

Good Chocolate

Hey Kids,

I saw a posted meme today that I reposted.hershey

Then I thought it might be a good idea to check it out.

The story revolves around the money donated from Milton Hershey from his share of the profits of Hershey’s chocolate to his own school of orphans.

There are many that think the direction of this now extremely well-funded school should change, expand, or even divert the mission of the school to more appropriate, better informed entities.

I’m not really in a place to make a compelling argument of what is right or what is wrong. I feel that no one has the right to alter the wishes of a donor. I guess that’s why we have courts.

The impressive part of this story for me is Mr. Hershey’s true desire.

When I read the meme, the first thing I thought is that I should buy more Hershey’s chocolate when given a choice. Which happens to be the exact opposite of what he wanted. In fact, he wanted no one to know of his donations because he didn’t want anyone to think he was doing it for that exact thought. He did it because it was something he could do, and make a big difference for those for whom he felt the desire to help. That simple.

I’ll honor those wishes. I won’t go out of my way to buy Hershey’s chocolate bars; there are many I enjoy more. But on those occasions that I do, I’ll remember what this man did for those who needed and need it. And he did it without fanfare and without regards to how it could be used to profit him beyond his own satisfaction.

I think the next Hershey’s chocolate I consume might taste just a little bit sweeter.

There’s some good people out there.

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Day 285

The Long Way to Work

Hey Kids,

Working on Saturday isn’t right. It just isn’t. At least not when it’s for someone else.

Looking over the needs for next week, I came to the conclusion, I needed to come in to work today so to avoid total disaster on Monday. It’s a grown up thing I think. I hate being a grown-up.

However, I learned last week that a working B-17 bomber from WWII would be in a town not too far from here.

Usually it’s a 10 mile ride to work. A quick zip around the hill, buzz by the Capitol building and straight up the hill to the University. Easy and quick.

Not today!

My commute on this day would lead me onto a beautiful morning drive up into the mountains, past Park City, one of the venues for the winter games, cruising past

WWII B-17 Bomber

WWII B-17 Bomber “Sentimental Journey”

lakes and rivers, and on to Heber City and its small private plane airport. About 60 miles total.

I’ve seen a B-17 before, but I’ve never seen a working one. I watched it fire up its four engines, coughing out smoke and flames. I took in its sound and aviation fuel fumes as it taxied away from us and roared back down the airstrip, somehow lifting that big body off of the ground, I hung around to watch it circle the airport and land, setting down so gently it amazed me. I only wish I had the Mucho Denaro’s to buy a ticket to go for a ride.

I looked over the other aircraft they had and some old WWII vehicles on display- many if not all working, and boogied my way back down the hill after about 2 hours and got to work.

It’ll be a short day today, maybe 4 hours or so. Just enough to keep the alligators off my butt next week.

I wish every work day was like this one.


Day 110